So, it probably goes without saying that I am heartbroken. Devastating loss for my Cowboys. Which is another positive about fantasy football, because I successfully wrapped up all of my game this week. And by some stroke of luck I am currently the highest scorer in the Expert League by over 70 points, thanks largely in part to Drew Brees, Mike Tolbert, Kenny Britt and Steve Smith.
Fantasy Weekly Wrap-Ups are going to be our version of Monday Morning Quarterbacking looking at fantasy implications of some of the top performers, spouting off random things that amused us our made us think. If you’ve got something you want to share, add it to the comments. Advice time and rankings will be coming up mid-week, so please hold off on those, we’ve got plenty of time.
What I Learned
1) Elite outweighs matchups. At all positions. We all get into the problem where our top performer is facing a tough defense and we are forced to question their starting potential. Well, Week 1 has taught me that this is a no-no. Ray Rice had a huge game against the once-intimidating Pittsburgh Steelers, Miles Austin (though only sometimes matched with Revis) put up high receiving numbers and a score. If you have a star on your team, do not hesitate to start him.
2) The Eagles defense should scare fantasy owners. Sam Bradford, Steven Jackson and Danny Amendola go down against Philadelphia. We’ll see if this trend continues, but it’s looking like the Eagles will ruin offenses even more prolifically than the Giants did last year when they mangled every quarterback they faced.
3) Last year’s parity appears to be gone. With the exception of one or two games, it feels like NFL fans got a good idea of how this year is going to shape up already. Some teams proved elite, and other teams looked like garbage. Not a lot of teams are going to sliding under the radar in 2011.
4) I’m a bigger Steve Smith fan that I ever thought I was. Something good about seeing a player return from relative obscurity. I’m hoping it keeps going for him. Especially since I own him in a couple leagues. Here’s hoping that my pick for Comeback Player of the Year, Elvis Dumervil, can also return to his former glory.
How many games will each player listed actually play in the 2011 season?
Frank Gore (+/- 10 games): Jordan-over (12) Andrew-over (13)
Matthew Stafford (+/- 10 games): Jordan-under (9) Andrew-over (all)
Dez Bryant (+/- 12 games): Jordan-over (14) Andrew-over (15)
Reggie Bush (+/- 10 games): Jordan-under (8) Andrew-over (13)
Maurice Jones-Drew (+/- 12 games): Jordan-under (10) Andrew-over (all)
Peyton Manning (+/- 5 games): Jordan-under (0) Andrew-under (0)
Matt Hasselbeck (+/- 10 games): Jordan-over (13) Andrew-over (11)
Donovan McNabb (+/- 12 games): Jordan-over (all season) Andrew-under (8)
Ryan Grant (+/- 12 games): Jordan-under (11) Andrew-over (all)
Arian Foster (+/- 14 games): Jordan-under (10) Andrew-Even
Antonio Gates (+/- 11 games): Jordan-over-ish (12 games) Andrew-over (14)
Chris Johnson (+/- 13 games): Jordan-over (16 games) Andrew-over (15)
Austin Collie (+/- 12 games): Jordan-under (11) Andrew-under (10)
Felix Jones (+/- 11 games): Jordan-OVER (15) Andrew-over (13)
Beanie Wells (+/- 10 games): Jordan-Who? Under. (6) Andrew-over (14)
Terrell Owens (+/- 9 games): Jordan-over (10) Andrew-under (5)
Randy Moss (+/- 8 games): Jordan- under (7) Andrew-under (0)
Tiki Barber (+/- 1 games): Jordan-under (0) Andrew-under (0)
Moving on Up
Kenny Britt: He’s likely owned in all of your leagues, but if you snagged him in the draft. Congratulations. If he can stay healthy and away from issues off the field, Britt is primed to become a near-elite receiver in 2011. Matt Hasselbeck is still respectable at quarterback, and Chris Johnson will take a lot of pressure off of him. Don’t hesitate to keep him in your starting lineup.
Cadillac Williams: This Rams’ backup got most of the work following Steven Jackson’s injury. We have to assume it is a strained quad and that he will be day-to-day at best for a while. If Bradford is alright to play, then Caddy could return as a player at running back for a while with sleeper potential. Add Mike Sims-Walker to the list of St. Louis players to consider if you’re looking for help, as he will be filling in for Danny Amendola, who is out for the season.
Cam Newton: Deep leagues only. If you are in a deep league, or one starting two quarterbacks, Newton is worth the pickup. He played against a pretty terrible defense, and his receivers were wide open, but he showed that he can get things done through the air and on the ground. Newton will make a serviceable bye week filler.
Early Doucet: I’ll bite on this one. I picked the wrong WR2 for the Cardinals. Doucet blew up for over 100 yards. On just three receptions, he isn’t exactly anything to be confident in, but he could gain some sleeper potential on your bench. I’d like to see another strong week out of him before any big endorsements, but opposite Larry Fitzgerald doesn’t hurt anything.
Robert Meachum/Devery Henderson: One of these guys is likely floating in free agency in your league, and now is the time to pick him up. With Lance Moore’s status uncertain and Marques Colston out for at least four weeks, you know that the New Orleans high-powered offense will get them the ball. From the same game... Jordy Nelson will make a great pickup in the few leagues where he is available. He showed that he is not slowing down from that Super Bowl performance.
Don’t Be the Guy Who...
1) Drops good players who had a bad week for bad players who had a good one.
2) Takes injuries lightly.
3) Quits because you got blown out in week one.
4) Doesn’t learn from Week 1 mistakes.
5) Plays a Seattle Seahawk.
Buy or Sell
Newton put up 24 completions for 422 yards, two passing scores, one rushing touchdown and only one interception. Can he carry this on throughout the season?
Andrew: I kinda buy it. At least more than I was in the preseason. Granted, Newton put up these number in a game where he was trailing, against an abysmal Arizona defense, but no one thought that he would fare this well. I will not be picking him up on fantasy teams any time soon, and doubt he will come close to these numbers. But this game made him the frontrunner for Rookie of the Year and got a lot of people to jump from the hating bandwagon over to the Newton for Prez bandwagon.
Jordan: Sell. He'll have an okay year, sure. No doubt about it. But if anyone tries to pretend that Newton is NFL ready and that he is just going to rip through defenses, then I will punch them in the face. He'll have struggles. Probably lots of them. He'll also look good and perhaps even great at times. But have you seen the panthers? Ugh.
Fred Davis, TE, Redskins
Davis came out of nowhere as one of Rex Grossman’s favorite targets with 5 receptions for 105 yards. Is Davis a legitimate tight end option this year?
Andrew: Sell. Cooley was a non-factor in this game, and I don’t see it staying this way when he is healthy. Also, the Giants are hurting on defense with injuries. Against a better put-together defense, Davis will not recreate this.
Jordan: Does he play for Washington? Sell.
Green Bay Packers Offense
296 passing yards, 103 rushing yards, 6 touchdowns, 0 turnovers: So much for the Super Bowl hangover. Is this a sign for the rest of their season?
Andrew: Buy. New Orleans defense is no slouch. The Packers looked like a machine. Easily the best NFC performance. With the run game a vast improvement over last year, Green Bay is a Super Bowl front runner.
Jordan: Buy. Really. They won't be perfect all the time, but this will probably be a consistent theme for the rest of the season, provided the frozen tundra doesn't debilitate them to the extent that it did last year.
NFL Kick Return Game
In just 14 games, three kickoffs have been returned for touchdowns, despite the kickoff point being moved up to the 35 yard line. There were 68 touchbacks on 140 kickoffs. Meaning 4.4% of returned kicks went all the way. Are kickoff return yards and touchdowns still alive and well after the rule change?
Andrew: Sell. There is just no way. This is a fluke. Returners are taking the ball out from 5-9 yards deep in the end zone. Kickoff teams just need to learn to adjust to this. I credit poor coverage more than good returning.
Jordan: Hedge. Returners could always do this shit, they just didn't have the balls to do it. That said, this is week 1. Week Numbero Uno is always a little sloppy. Give it a couple more weeks, and things will settle down to their normal pedestrian pace.
Pittsburgh Steelers' Loss
The Steelers looked miserable losing 35-7 against the Baltimore Ravens, turning the ball over 7 times. Will it continue?
Andrew: Sell. It’s hard to think that anyone can reproduce this. But having a blueprint made in Week 1 is going to be a serious problem. There is a new sheriff in the AFC North, though. Steelers will not win the division.
Jordan: Sell. They looked sloppy. They still have a super bowl hangover. They had an abrieviated off-season. But Big Ben and his merry men will be fine. They are loaded and will start playing as such. Tomlin is a great coach too, btw.
Scott Chandler, TE, Bills
The out of nowhere man of the day, Chandler got 63 yards and 5 receptions, two of them going to touchdowns. Good enough to add to your fantasy roster?
Andrew: I’m going to buy this one. Tight end is deep this year. I’ve been saying it since the preseason started. And this guy was overlooked by everyone. Granted, Kansas City was a pretty cake defense to play against, but on an offense like the Bills, with a quarterback like Fitzpatrick, a tight end like this could thrive. I would keep him on my bench and play him by matchup. He will be inconsistent from game to game, but he could easily put up a year much like Marcedes Lewis did with 12 strictly red zone touchdowns.
Jordan: Really? This is a real question? He plays for the bills. Sell. Hard.